AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE
SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
22-2719. Creation of soil conservation districts. (1) Any twenty-five (25) owners of land lying within the limits of the territory proposed to be organized into a district may file a petition with the state soil and water conservation commission asking that a soil conservation district be organized to function in the territory described in the petition. Such petition shall set forth:
(a) The proposed name of said district;
(b) That there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, for a soil conservation district to function in the territory described in the petition;
(c) A description of the territory proposed to be organized as a district, which description shall not be required to be given by metes and bounds or by legal subdivisions, but shall be deemed sufficient if generally accurate;
(d) A request that the state soil and water conservation commission duly define the boundaries for such district; that a referendum be held within the territory so defined on the question of the creation of a soil conservation district in such territory; and that the commission determine that such a district be created.
Where more than one (1) petition is filed covering parts of the same territory, the state soil and water conservation commission may consolidate all of any such petitions.
(2) Within thirty (30) days after such petition has been filed with the state soil and water conservation commission, it shall cause due notice to be given of a proposed hearing upon the question of the desirability and necessity, in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, of the creation of such district, upon the question of the appropriate boundaries to be assigned to such district, upon the propriety of the petition and other proceedings taken under this chapter, and upon all questions relevant to such inquiries. All owners of land within the limits of the territory described in the petition, and of lands within any territory considered for addition to such described territory, and all other interested parties, shall have the right to attend such hearings and to be heard. If it shall appear upon the hearing that it may be desirable to include within the proposed district territory outside of the area within which due notice of the hearing has been given the hearing shall be adjourned and the due notice of further hearing shall be given throughout the entire area considered for inclusion in the district, and such further hearing held. After such hearing, if the commission shall determine upon the facts presented at such hearing and upon such other relevant facts and information as may be available, that there is need in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, for a soil conservation district to function in the territory considered at the hearing, it shall make and record such determination, and shall define by metes and bounds or by legal subdivisions, the boundaries of such district. In making such determination and in defining such boundaries, the commission shall give due weight and consideration to the topography of the area considered and of the state, the composition of soils therein, the distribution of erosion, the prevailing land use practices, the desirability and necessity of including within the boundaries the particular lands under consideration and the benefits such lands may receive from being included within such boundaries, the relation of the proposed area to the existing watersheds and agricultural regions, and to other soil conservation districts already organized or proposed for organization under the provisions of this chapter, and such other physical, geographical, and economic factors as are relevant, having due regard to the legislature determinations set forth in section 22-2716, Idaho Code. The territory to be included within such boundaries need not be contiguous. If the commission determines after such hearing, after due consideration of the said relevant facts, that there is no need for a soil conservation district to function in the territory considered at the hearing, it shall make and record such determination and shall deny the petition. After six (6) months shall have expired from the date of the denial of such petition, subsequent petitions covering the same or substantially the same territory may be filed as aforesaid and new hearings held and determinations made thereon.
(3) After the commission has made and recorded a determination that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, for the organization of a district in a particular territory and has defined the boundaries thereof, it shall consider the question whether the operation of a district within such boundaries with the powers conferred upon soil conservation districts in this chapter is administratively practicable and feasible. To assist the commission in the determination of such administrative practicability and feasibility, it shall be the duty of the commission, at the next election held after entry of the finding that there is need for the organization of the proposed district and the determination of the boundaries thereof, to hold a referendum, subject to the provisions of section 34-106, Idaho Code, within the proposed district upon the proposition of the creation of the district, and to cause notice of such election to be given as provided in section 34-1406, Idaho Code. The question shall be submitted by ballots upon which the words "For creation of a soil conservation district of the lands below described and lying in the county(ies) of …. and …." and "Against creation of a soil conservation district of the lands below described and lying in the county(ies) of …. and …." shall appear, with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose creation of such district. The ballot shall set forth the boundaries of such proposed district as determined by the commission. All qualified electors who own lands or reside within the proposed district shall be eligible to vote in said referendum.
(4) The commission shall pay all expenses for the issuance of such notice and the conduct of such hearings and election and shall supervise the conduct of such hearings and election. It shall issue appropriate regulations governing the conduct of such hearings and election. No informalities in the conduct of the election or in any matter relating thereto shall invalidate the election or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as herein provided and the election shall have been fairly conducted.
(5) The commission shall publish the result of the election and shall thereafter consider and determine whether the operation of the district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible. If the commission determines that the operation of such district is not administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and deny the petition. If the commission determines that the operation of such district is administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and shall proceed with the organization of the district in the manner hereinafter provided. In making such determination the commission shall give due regard and weight to the attitudes of the owners of lands lying within the defined boundaries, the number of landowners and qualified electors eligible to vote in the election who shall have voted, the proportion of the votes cast in the election in favor of the creation of the district to the total number of votes cast, the approximate wealth and income of the landowners of the proposed district, the probable expense of carrying on erosion control and other conservation operations within such district, and such other economic and social factors as may be relevant to such determination, having due regard to the legislative determination set forth in section 22-2716, Idaho Code; provided however, the commission shall not have authority to determine that the operation of the proposed district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible unless at least a majority of the votes cast in the election upon the proposition of creation of the district shall have been cast in favor of the creation of such district.
(6) If the commission determines that the operation of the proposed district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible, it shall appoint two (2) supervisors to act, with the three (3) supervisors elected as provided hereinafter, as the governing body of the district. Such district shall be a governmental subdivision of this state and a public body corporate and politic, upon the taking of the following proceedings:
(a) The two (2) appointed supervisors shall present to the secretary of state an application signed by them which shall set forth (and such application need contain no detail other than the mere recitals): (i) that a petition for the creation of the district was filed with the state soil and water conservation commission pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and that the proceedings specified in this chapter were taken pursuant to such petition; that the application is being filed in order to complete the organization of the district as a governmental subdivision and a public body, corporate and politic, under this chapter; and that the commission has appointed them as supervisors; (ii) the name and official residence of each of the supervisors, together with a certified copy of the appointments evidencing their right to office; (iii) the term of office of each of the supervisors; (iv) the name which is proposed for the district; and (v) the location of the principal office of the supervisors of the district. The application shall be subscribed and sworn to by each of the said supervisors before an officer authorized by the laws of this state to take and certify oaths, who shall certify upon the application that he personally knows the supervisors and knows them to be the officers as affirmed in the application, and that each has subscribed thereto in the officer’s presence.
(b) The application shall be accompanied by a statement by the state soil and water conservation commission, which shall certify (and such statement need contain no detail other than the mere recitals) that a petition was filed, notice issued and hearing held as aforesaid; that the commission did duly determine that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, for a soil conservation district to function in the proposed territory and did define the boundaries thereof; that notice was given and an election held on the question of the creation of such district, and that the result of the election showed a sixty percent (60%) majority of the votes cast in the election to be in favor of the creation of the district; that thereafter the commission did duly determine that the operation of the proposed district is administratively practicable and feasible. The said statement shall set forth the boundaries of the district as they have been defined by the commission.
(c) The secretary of state shall examine the application and statement and, if he finds that the name proposed for the district is not identical with that of any other soil conservation district of this state or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion or uncertainty, he shall receive and file them and shall record them in an appropriate book of record in his office.
(d) If the secretary of state finds that the name proposed for the district is identical with that of any other soil conservation district of this state, or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion and uncertainty, he shall certify such fact to the state soil and water conservation commission which shall thereupon submit to the secretary of state a new name for the said district, which shall not be subject to such defects. Upon receipt of such new name free of such defects, the secretary of state shall record the application and statement with the name so modified, in an appropriate book of record in his office. When the application and statement have been made, filed and recorded, as herein provided, the district shall constitute a governmental subdivision of this state and a public body corporate and politic. The secretary of state shall make and issue to the said supervisors a certificate under the seal of the state, of the due organization of the said district, and shall record such certificate with the application and statement. The boundaries of such district shall include the territory as determined by the state soil and water conservation commission as aforesaid, but in no event shall they include any area included within the boundaries of another soil conservation district organized under the provisions of this chapter except as provided in section 22-2720, Idaho Code.
(7) After six (6) months shall have expired from the date of entry of a determination by the state soil and water conservation commission that operation of a proposed district is not administratively practicable and feasible, and denial of a petition pursuant to such determination, subsequent petitions may be filed as aforesaid, and action taken thereon in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(8) Petitions for including additional territory within an existing district may be filed with the state soil and water conservation commission and the proceedings herein provided for in the case of petitions to organize a district shall be observed in the case of petitions for such inclusion. The commission shall prescribe the form for such petitions, which shall be as nearly as may be in the form prescribed in this chapter for petitions to organize a district. Where the total number of landowners in the area proposed for inclusion is less than twenty-five (25), the petition may be filed when signed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the owners of such area, and in such case no election need be held. In elections upon petitions for such inclusion, all owners of land and qualified electors lying within the proposed additional area shall be eligible to vote.
(9) Incorporated cities, not already included within a district, may be included by presentation of a request of the district approved by the governing body along with a request of the city approved by the mayor and council, to the state soil and water conservation commission. The commission shall consider and act on such joint request at the earliest convenience. If the joint request is denied, the commission shall so notify the district and city in writing and state the reasons for such denial. After six (6) months shall have expired from the date of denial of such joint request, a subsequent joint request may again be made. If the joint request is approved, the commission shall then cause the necessary papers to be filed with the secretary of state. This shall include an amended legal description of the boundaries of the total district.
[22-2719, added 1957, ch. 218, sec. 5, p. 476; am. 1973, ch. 164, sec. 1, p. 310; am. 1995, ch. 118, sec. 8, p. 430; am. 2010, ch. 279, sec. 4, p. 725.]